It’s overly simplistic to say that you can’t lose in softball if the other team doesn’t score, but so far it’s been working for the University of Alabama.
Last weekend, the Crimson Tide didn’t yield a single run in 17 innings against three different opponents during its opening weekend to the 2018 season. After winning at South Alabama, 1-0, it pummeled both Penn State 10-0 and Lamar 13-0 in the Sand Dollar Classic at Gulf Shores, Ala.
It’s already Alabama’s third-longest scoreless streak to start a season.
- 29.2 (2011)
- 18.1 (2005)
- 17.0 (2018)
- 13.1 (2017)
Senior ace Alexis Osorio gave up just 3 hits in the opener and gave her performance a C+/B- grade. Alabama’s other two pitchers were making their Crimson Tide debuts, freshman Madison Preston and junior college transfer Courtney Gettins.
“She can get better,” Alabama coach Patrick Murphy said about Osorio. “All three of them can get better.”
Preston faced a bases-loaded jam in her first inning but threw a 1-hitter.
“The one hit was like a 13-hop ground ball up the middle,” Murphy said. “They did hit two good balls off here, but Elissa [Brown] made two really good plays in center field.”
Gettins followed with a no-hitter against the Nittany Lions. It was the 34th in program history, but she’s the only pitcher to throw one during her first career start.
“I don’t think she realized it because after the game everyone gave her a big hug and celebrated with her, and she wasn’t sure what the heck was going on,” Murphy said.
Alabama will face tougher competition in the Black and Gold Invitational, hosted by Southern Miss in Hattiesburg, Miss. Over the weekend, it’s slated to face Baylor, ranked No. 11 in the USA Today/NFCA coaches poll, and No. 24 McNeese State.
Alabama (3-0) is ranked No. 9.
- Alabama (3-0) will face each of the other four teams in the Black and Gold Tournament: Southern Miss (2-4), McNeese State (4-0), Mississippi Valley State (0-4) and Baylor (3-0).
- When: Friday-Sunday
- Where: The Southern Miss Softball Complex
- Schedule: Alabama plays Southern Miss at 2 p.m. ET Friday, McNeese State at 2 p.m. ET Saturday and then Mississippi Valley State at 5 p.m. ET, and finally Baylor at 2 p.m. ET Sunday.
What’s the best way to keep up with the game
Fans have numerous options:
Radio: 93.3 FM in Tuscaloosa.
Live video: Alabama vs. Southern Miss will be available, but for a fee.
Twitter updates: @AlabamaSB
What you should know
- The tournament will be a homecoming for junior catcher Reagan Dykes, who hails from nearby Collins, Miss. The team is planning to visit her family’s chicken farm, which has 16 chicken houses and 24,000 birds in each.
- After having two games canceled due to inclement weather, Alabama is looking to replace them on the schedule. Murphy has already contacted Georgia Tech about adding a game when the Crimson Tide visit on March 14.
- Alabama’s first home run of the season by junior Merris Schroder against Lamar on Feb. 9 was just the sixth inside-the-park home run in program history. The last was by Haylie McCleney on Feb. 9, 2013.
- Sophomore first baseman Bailey Hemphill led the team at the plate, going 4 for 6 (.667) with 4 RBI. She had an on-base average of .800.
- Alabama will hold its home opener next Friday when it hosts Georgia State in its first game of the Easton Bama Bash. The Crimson Tide are slated to play five games that weekend in the annual tournament, including two against No. 8 Florida State.
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